Wednesday 22 November 2017

Jai Ho Restaurant Review

Jai Ho is an Indian restaurant situated in a former a pub, the Coppingham Arms, and has been a local favourite for 9 years.  We have visited Jai Ho quite a few times over the years and it soon became not only our favourite Indian restaurant but our favourite restaurant full stop.  It’s a great set up - you have the bar area where people generally come in for a drink whilst waiting to pick up their takeaways and then a pretty large dining area, which I have to say, every time we have visited, it has always been busy, no matter what time of day, its therefore always advisable to ring ahead and book a table.

Jai Ho Homemade dips
As with a lot of people we generally stuck with our safe dishes, those tried and tested favourites that we would have pretty much every time we visited.  This time we had been invited along by one of the owners, Sam, to come in and sample some dishes with him and his partner Jane, after much deliberation we said why not, ok, it took all of a nano-second!

Chilli Naans

We popped along last Friday and once again the bar area was pretty busy as was the restaurant.  We sat and had a drink in the bar area before heading through into the restaurant.  As with any Indian meal, we had the obligatory poppadum’s and dips, all of which are made fresh apart from the mango chutney, however the Chef gives this the Jai Ho twist with the addition of some spices.  I have to say this is one of my favourite parts of any Indian meal and these  dips are no exception, especially the chilli and tomato relish, I need to get the recipe for this as it is amazing! 

Paneer Shashlik

Sam ordered a selection of starters for us, junglee bhajia, which consists of an assortment of vegetables dipped in the Chef’s special batter and golden fried. We also had paneer shashlik, Indian cheese to you and I, which is stir fried with onions, peppers and tomatoes.  The vegetables were very tasty and the paneer, which I had never tried before, is now on my favourites list, a bit like halloumi and firm cottage cheese but taken to another level with the vegetables.

Tandoori King Prawns

We were then brought a portion of salmon tikka and tandoori king prawns.  The salmon fillets are marinated in spices and broiled, the prawns are dipped in a creamy spiced marinade and grilled until golden in a clay oven along with the salmon.   Both dishes were well received and quickly devoured; they were delicious with a capital D! 

By now our tastebuds had really been given a kick into next week with the flavours. This was soon to move up a gear when we were brought out portions of chilli garlic cauliflower, chilli chicken and chicken 65 which are amongst some of the most popular dishes at the restaurant.  Now I have to say, I cannot stand cauliflower, it’s one of those things that since childhood makes me retch, so to say I was a little nervous about trying the cauliflower was an understatement! 

Chilli Garlic Cauliflower

 Both the chicken dishes were really tasty, something for everyone, the chicken 65 was mild whereas you guessed it, the chilli chicken packed a punch, the sort of dish that when coupled with a chilli naan bread left you feeling like you just had some botox injections in your lips!  Tingling and hot but in a very nice way, we love those two dishes that’s for sure.  Then we came to the dreaded cauliflower - I have to say looking at it I thought it was small pieces of roast potato, no resemblance to the usual cauliflower florets, so in I went, first hesitant bite, well, all I can say is OMG!  This was nothing like the cauliflower I have hated for all these years, it didn’t taste or even smell like that dreaded white broccoli, it tasted fantastic, a slight crunch and a bit of a kick from the chilli - could this be my new found favourite dish? Hell yes, I will be having a large portion of this next time I return that’s for sure!
Chicken Dhum Pukht Biryani

 As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we then were presented with the last three dishes of the evening, tadka dal, chicken kharahi and chicken dhum pukht biryani.  The dal consisted of yellow lentils cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices.  I will be honest, I’m not personally a huge fan of lentils so for me I could take it or leave it, however my partner loved it - very mild and creamy and definitely something to mop up with some naan bread.  The chicken kharahi is cooked in ground Indian spices with onions and peppers tossed in an iron skillet.  Once again, another dish full of flavour and one to add to my “have again” list.  The biryani I have to say was quite surprising, cooked in the traditional way in a clay pot and covered with bread, this dish is a combination of both rice and the chicken.  Ones I have tried in the past have been nice but pretty mild, this one however had a nice spicy kick to it which we loved, so this one is also going onto my list too!

Some 3 hours later we had finished what turned out to be a feast of fantastic food, packed with flavour, spice and more importantly freshly cooked.  This visit was a real eye opener in terms of trying different dishes rather than the same old tried and tested, so many thanks to Sam for his hospitality and for introducing me to some wonderful new dishes, especially the cauliflower!  Sam tells me that they have a new lamb shank dish on the menu, I think I will be needing to try that the next visit and also push myself out of my comfort zone and try some more new dishes, there are plenty to choose from so I’m thinking it is going to take a while to get through them all.

All in all my partner and I both agreed it was a fantastic evening, amazing tasty food and great company and service from the staff.  I would like to add that having been to Jai Ho numerous times over the years, the service has always been spot on as has the food so it wasn’t just a case of who we were eating with!

Jai Ho gets a well deserved 10 out of 10 from me and is certainly somewhere I would recommend, even if you are not a spice fan, they have something to tempt all palettes so give them a go, again, I recommend booking a table as they do get rather busy! 01293-782283

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Kinda homemade pizza

Kinda homemade pizza

This is a semi cheats dinner.  I found a pack of Northern Dough chilli pizza dough in the back of my  freezer so thought it was about time I used it and boy I’m glad I did.  I have made my own pizza dough before but this is already done for you and saves a bit of time but you still get that home cooked taste.

The Northern Dough Chilli Pizza Dough

  • 1 Box Pizza Dough (several flavours to choose from)
  • 70g pack of double concentrated tomato puree
  • Buffalo mozzarella pearls
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Chorizo slices
  • Parma ham slices
  • Handful of rocket
  • Half red onion sliced
  • Green pepper sliced
  • Handful of chopped black olives
  • Flour to dust the work surface and rolling pin
  • 1 Pizza stone
Place your pizza stone into a cold oven and heat at 240 degrees.  Whilst this is heating place some flour onto your worktop and spread it out, big enough for the size of pizza you are going to roll out.  The pizza dough comes in two portions so I combine the two which makes for one big pizza to cover my pizza stone.  Make sure the dough has a good coating of flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin and roll it out to the desired size. 

Allow the pizza stone to heat for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and place on top of something heatproof, I just put it on top of my gas ring.  With your rolling pin, place the dough across the top so it is folded in half and then carefully place this over the top of the pizza stone, remember, the stone is very hot so keep your fingers away!  Spread the tomato puree over the top of the pizza and then top with the meat, artichoke hearts, onion, pepper and olives.  

Return to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Once cooked and the pizza base is nice and crispy top with the rocket and shavings of parmesan and serve.

This seriously does taste as if you made it from scratch!  I have used a ready made pizza base in the past which I have to say was like eating cardboard, this however is ready made dough and is as good as you having made the dough yourself.  We both loved the pizza and will definitely be making again.  The choice of toppings can obviously be varied to suit your tastes, this is just an example of what we had, so knock yourselves out and pile your pizza with your toppings of choice!